Directors of companies will soon have to enrol in the Director Identification Number regime. This requires current and future directors to apply for director identification numbers (DIN) which will be permanently linked to the individual, even if they are no longer a director. It is hoped the regime will make it easier to trace relationships across companies and reduce instances of phoenixing and other illegal activity. Most existing directors will have until 30 November 2022 to apply for the DIN through the ATO.
The Director Identification Number regime came into force late in 2020 as a tool for the Federal Government to reduce phoenixing and black economy activities.
TIP: Illegal phoenix activity is when a company shuts down to avoid paying its debts. A new company is then started to continue the same business activities, without the debt.
Individuals that operate under the Corporations Act 2001 and became a director on or before 31 October 2021 are required to apply for a DIN before the end of the transitional period, which is between 4 April 2021 and 30 November 2022.
Directors who operate under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 and became a director on or before 31 October 2021 will have even more time to apply for a DIN – until 30 November 2023 (with a transition period between 4 April 2021 and 30 November 2023). Any individuals who are appointed directors between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 will have within 28 days of their appointment to apply for the DIN, and from 5 April 2022 individuals seeking to become directors will need to apply for a DIN before their appointment.
Any conduct that undermines the DIN requirement will be subject to civil and criminal penalties. This includes deliberately providing false identity information, intentionally providing a false DIN or intentionally applying for multiple DINs.
Directors will be able to use the new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) online services to register from 1 November 2021. Sign-ins and director identity verification will be conducted using the myGovID app.